This is frequently asked questions about traveling Mai Chau, Vietnam. It is written by a local guide who has been traveling to Mai Chau 50 times over the last 5 years
Where is Mai Chau?
Mai Chau is situated in the Northerwest of Vietnam 3 hours drive from Hanoi. It’s part of Hoa Binh Province. The closet city is Hoa Binh, 1.5 hour drive from Mai Chau
Most of the tours for Northwest Vietnam adventure starts in Mai Chau and keep going West to Son La, Dien Bien, Sapa etc
Mai Chau is 60 kilometers from the famous tourist attraction, Pu Luong nature reserve.
What does Mai Chau valley look like?
Mai Chau valley is known as the green embrace . The road follows the course of a small, clear river as it runs through a disproportionately wide valley. The width means that either side of the river is flat, arable land, which is covered in a blanket of rice fields. Small, mostly wooden settlements cluster on raised ground near the river at regular intervals. The town of Mai Châu, however, is all concrete. It’s a small, rather ugly place, but has a lively village atmosphere in the mornings and early evenings, when good, cheap food is available from vendors.
How long should I stay in Mai Chau?
In my opinion, one or two nights is more than enough. 2 nights stay allow you to have more time to explore the area with a low pace. If you have a short time, I recommend traveling on a guided tour will save your time to see highlights of Mai Chau
Can you visit Mai Chau valley as a day trip from Hanoi?
Yes, it is possible to visit Mai Chau as a day trip from Hanoi.
A day trip from Hanoi for those who have limited time Just let you know that spending lots of time on the bus. You might be missing a value time of waking up amongst the amazing green rice field, which is the highlight of Mai Chau trip
Where should I stay in Mai Chau?
It depends on you. If you would like a comfortable stay then bungalows, lodge and guests houses are good choice. But most of tourists prefer staying overnight in a local homestay to eat, interact with locals as much as possible. Most of the homestays with tourist standard which is clean enough for an overnight stay. If you traveling on a tight budget, there is a hostel in Mai Chau with bunk bed.
How to travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau?
There’s an array of options for you to choose from : local bus, tourist bus. To me, I prefer going on a tourist bus with a pick up from Hanoi Old Quarter where mots of travelers are staying and drop off either in Mai Chau town or Sunrise resort. You can contact your homestay owner before hand to arrange a pick up from the bus stop to your place.
Is Sapa the same as Mai Chau?
Recently, Mai Chau is getting popular as alternatives to Sapa . In term of the landscape Sapa offer more terraced paddy fields and more mountainous regions. In term of culture and costumes, ethnic people in Sapa wear their traditional costumes and stay in their traditional houses.
In Mai Chau, people are still very friendly and you won’t see anyone followings you during your trek for selling the stuff to you like in Sapa
You can also see rice field in the harvest season in Sapa once in late August, but in Mai Chau twice in early June and early Octorber
Is Mai Chau less touristy than Sapa?
Of course, if you are seeking for off the beaten track experience, I do recommend Mai Chau for your adventure.
In Sapa, you need to travel off the tourist trails to remote villages to be away from the big crowd.
How to I get from Mai Chau to Moc Chau?
There is a company called Moc Chau express which offer a pick up for mai Chau to Moc Chau.
When is the best time to see Mai Chau?
For those, who love takings photos then May and Octorber is the best time to go because it it the time of the harvest season in Mai Chau
Where do you recommend for staying overnight in Mai Chau?
Less touristy : Mai Hich village, Buoc village, Lac 2 village, Pom Coong village; touristy spots for staying overnight : Lac 1 village and Mai Chau town
Where to exchange money in Mai Chau?
Official currency exchange services is available at Agribank but only opens from Monday to Friday (8.00am to 5.00pm) . There are homestays, guest houses and hotels which offer currency exchange with lower rate
Where to rent a bicycle and motorbike?
There are motorbike rental shops in Mai Chau town and Lac 1 village. For bike rental, please check with your homestay or walk around Lac 1 village near the entrance gate of Lac 1 village. Bike for rent values at $5 per day, motorbike for rent values at $11 USD per day
Should I eat in a homestay or a restaurant?
If you would like an authentic taste of Mai Chau food, then eating in a homestay is a good choice with a set menu of serveral dishes. If you would like Western Food or something light then eating in a restaurant is better. For a guided tour, you will be eating in a homestay with setmenu lunch or dinner.
How can I get around by bicycle or motorbike without having a guide?
Check out this Mai Chau cycle route map for details : Starts in Lac 2 village > Na Phon > Nhot > Pom Coong > Lac 1 village
How can I get from Mai Chau to Noi Bai airport?
There is no direct bus from Mai Chau town to Noi Bai airport. Please go back to Hanoi and arrange airport transfer or hiring a private car from Mai Chau to the airport
I hope these answers above for the questions that you need to know when traveling Mai Chau valley, Vietnam.
Is there any volunteer works available in Mai Chau ?
VEO and Vina Volunteer Service offer educational project and community development project be helping local community for teaching English for the poor kids and help a social center which develop handicraft products made by disabled people in Mai Chau
What to see in Mai Chau off the beaten track?
Soak up in Go Lao water fall
Taking a boat ride in Hoa Binh Lake
Day trip to Pu Luong nature reserve
A day trip to Mai Hich Village
Trekking 2 days 1 night trip to Pu Bin village
A trekking tour with an overnight stay in Pu Bin village (For sure, not many travelers know this place. You need a local guide to escort you because getting there is really hard )
Read more : Mai Chau valley travel guide
I hope these questions and answers above helps you some ways for traveling Mai Chau valley, Vietnam. If you have any further questions, feel free to drop a line below in the COMMENT BOX for details.
Thanks for reading!